Saturday, September 23, 2006

Dinner at Michael Mina Restaurant, San Francisco, CA

About a year and a half ago we had the best meal of our lives at Michael Mina, it was a 9 course truffle tasting menu and every bit of it was divine. We went back tonight and this time had the 6 course tasting menu ($135/person) and Giao had the wine pairing (an additional $85) and shared it because Alexis didn't think she'd be able to drink that much. Tonight's meal was good, but not as amazing as we had remembered. Giao put it best when he said "how did this place go from being the best meal I've ever had to the best meal I've had this month?".

Poached Quail Egg in Creme Fraiche with Sweet Corn Foam and Caviar
The foam was very good, but the egg was a bit too rubbery. There really wasn't much going on with this dish.

Fried Shallots and Crab with Water Melon in a Yellow Watermelon Soup
This was truly amazing. The total flavor was very complex and it tasted rich, yet refreshing.

The following three were on a single plate, a trio of sashimi:

Trout with Radish and Avocado
Although this looked like salmon, it was not and the flavor was much more subtle, in a good way.

Hamachi with Yuzu Ginger Vinagrette
Very tasty. It's hard to improve on the buttery flavor of fresh hamachi, but the additional ingredients enhanced the flavor.

Fluke with a Line Jalapeno Vingrette
The star of the trio, the bright flavors of the vinagrette matched the fluke incredibly.

Thai Snapper with Star Anise Crust with Shrimp Ravioli, Beets and Lemon Zest
This was good, but without the citrus of the zest would have been fairly uninteresting. The beets, while pretty, were kind of bland.

Trio of Duck Breast and Seared Foie Gras
Each of the three preperations were wonderful. The duck was succulent and the fruity flavors and rich grains melted in your mouth. From left to right: with saffron cous cous and carmelized peach, with barley risotto and cranberry jus, and with quinoa and huckleberry sauce.

Rack of Lamb with Various Beans, a Lamb Meatball and Parsley Remoulade
Very tender, if a bit salty. The parsley sauce was bright and flavorful.

Trio of Waygu Beef (Kobe style American beef)
Somehow we forgot to take a picture of this dish, but it was by far the worst of the night. Instead of using a good cut of Waygu for the very small pieces, they used a stew cut and braised it. It was a bit stringy in texture and had very little flavor. The sides served with each preparation were also lackluster. The mushroom glazed cut was served with artichoke and garlic, two great flavors that just missed the mark here. The teriyaki glazed pice was served with wasabi garbanzo bean paste was try as we might we could not taste a lick of wasabi. The cut braised in steak sauce was served with horseradish mashed potatos that were so uninteresting and barely tasted of horesradish. It was quite sad to end the savory part of the meal on this note. If the chef had tasted this dish, surely it would not still be on the menu.

Trio of Paired Desserts
Left: Peach Ladyfinger compote with Lemon Verbena Ice Cream
The ice cream was delicious, the peach thing was kinda gross and tasted of canned peaches.
Center: Strawberry Tart with Chocolate and Strawberry Ice Cream
Again, the ice creams were delicious but the dessert was not very good.
Right: Molten Chocolate with Malted Milk Shake
The cake was very good, if uninspired and the shake was completely melted by the time it got to me.

Cheese Plate
A goat, a sheep and a brie. All were of good quality, but not particularly pungent.

Dark Chocolate BonBon with Cookies and Cream Ice Cream--Yum, Yum, Yum
Milk Chocolate and Toffee BonBon with Rasberry Sorbet--The outside was good, the inside was "eh".
Food: 2
Decor: 2
Service: 2

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Lunch at Home

Proscuitto Wrapped Honeydew
A refreshing lunch on a hot day. We use San Daniele proscuitto rather than the Parma, as we like the slightly sweeter taste.

Breakfast at Home

Cheese and Salami Scramble

Friday, September 22, 2006

Dinner at Home

A very quick, very easy Friday night dinner.

Romaine Salad with Balsamic Vinagrette

Costco Chicken Wings
From the freezer to our mouths in 20 minutes at 400.

Lunch from Mehfil Indian, San Francisco, CA

Our favorite delivery place for lunch, again. But we are not complaining...

Chicken Mahkni and Saag Paneer
Both very good, as always. I think we've turned the whole office from CTM over to Chicken Mahkni, for good reason, since it is so much better.

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Breakfast at Home

Leftover Fish Curry.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Lunch at Tommy Toy's, San Francisco, CA

The financial district is a really hard place to find a decent, moderately priced lunch. There is a lot of fast food, and a lot of high end , 2 hour lunch kind of places, but not much in between. We decided to check out Tommy Toy's , a higher end Chinese place we'd never tried. It was ok, but we definitely could have got the same quality for a lot cheaper.

Alexis had the lunch special, which for $13.95 was not a bad deal for 2 courses and a glass of (cheap) white wine.

Chicken and Tomato Bisque
Not too much going on here. Rather bland.

Stirfried Chicken and Vanilla Almond Prawns
The chicken was greasy and uninteresting and the prawns, while cooked perfectly, were doused in Chinese mayo, which is never a good thing. The presentation was quite nice though.

Giao decided to go a la carte...

Minced Squab Lettuce Cups and Roast Duck Salad $15
The squad was a bit sweet , but very tasty. The duck salad was standard.

Hot and Sour Soup $6
This soup was way more sour than hot, but was full of scallops, prawns and other goodies not normally found in take-out hot and sour soup.

Food: 1
Decor: 2
Service: 1

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Breakfast from Gambino's, San Francisco, CA

This is our standard breakfast when we don't have time to make it. Gambino's used to be on the way to work, and now it is just a bit past work, but still worth it.

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Dinner at Home

This one is topped with a fried egg, diced hard salami, avocado, onion, lime juice and hot sauce. This is a satisfying meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner that takes only minutes to prepare.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Dinner at Home

Mahi Mahi Curry with Brocolli and Shirataki Noodles
I didn't have any coconut milk so this curry was very light.

-2 mahi mahi filets, cubed
-1 lb brocolli flowerettes
-4 packages fettuccini style shirataki noodles
-1/2 onion, thinly sliced
-8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
-2 cans chicken broth
-2 tb Thai red chili paste

Sautee onions and garlic until soft. Add the chicken broth, and chili paste. Stir to combine. Add the noodles and fish and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the brocolli and simmer, covered, until brocolli is tender. Serve.

Lunch from Osha Thai, San Francisco, CA

Today we decided to supplement our catered in meal with some food from home. Below is the catered in part from Osha.

Chicken Satay
Alexis loves peanut sauce. Giao hates it. The chicken was a little dry today.

Tiger Shrimp
These garlic smothered tiger shrimp are always soooo good. This time was no different.

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Chicken Salad
A slight variation on the standard chicken salad.

-1 whole rotisserie chicken, pulled apart
-1/2 onion, diced
-1 large bell pepper, diced
-1 cup may
-2 tb miso
-juice of 1 lime
-2 tb rooster sauce
-1 packet splenda

Mix all ingredients thoroughly and use in sandwiches or lettuce wraps, or just eat as is.

Romaine Lettuce
To wrap the chicken salad in...

Breakfast at Home

Bacon and Fried Egg.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Dinner at Home

Cheesy Chicken Bake
Quick and easy, made with frozen chicken breast tenders that can go from freezer to over with no thawing and still somehow turn out moist.

-6 chicken breast tenders (not breaded)
-1/2 cup mayo
-1/2 cup grated cheese, any kind
-1 large bell pepper, minced
-1/2 onion, minced
-juice of 1 lime
-salt and pepper to taste

Sautee the onion and bell pepper until soft. Add mayo, lime juice and cheese and set aside. Bake chicken on 375 for 10 minutes. Spread the mayo mixture on top and bake 10 more minutes, until meat is cooked through and top is nice and bubbly.

Roasted Asparagus
This asparagus with simply drizzled with a bit of olive oil, sprinked with a little salt and roasted on 375 for about 25 minutes. It had a tender crunch and was very good.

Lunch from Whole Foods, San Francisco, CA

Fried Chicken
OK, but it was no KFC.

Food: 0
You can't really give service or decor ratings to a grocery store...

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Leftover Tofu and Brocolli with Black Bean Sauce

Breakfast at Samovar Tea Lounge, San Francisco, CA

We had been to Samovar for tea, but not to eat. Giao tried out the food and was not nearly as impressed with the food as the tea. The space itself is rather beautiful though--3 sides of glass, lots of bamboo, an outdoor patio and pretty teapots.

Seared Tuna Salad
This was ordinary.
Food: 0
Decor: 2
Service: 1

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Breakfast at Home

Bacon and Fried Egg.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Dinner at Sparky's Diner, San Francisco, CA

After watching football with some friends, we needed some grub. We hadn't had diner food in a while, let alone for dinner, so it was some welcome comfort food.

Bacon Cheeseburger $8
With BBQ sauce, this burger hit the spot. Also, they used fresh, big leaves of lettuce for my "bun" which is so much better than the shreds some places give you.

Zuchinni Poppers $4
These fried zuchinni sticks were actually really good. Very crunchy on the outside, yet they retained both moisture and firm flesh on the inside.

"Seattle" Omelette with a side of Mac n' Cheese $10
There were many weird things about this meal. Firstly, the omelette was called a Seattle omelette, yet it had bacon and spinach as its ingredients, niether of which one their own, or combined, are particularly reminiscent of Seattle. Also, because of the whole E.coli-spinach problem, they substituted mixed greens for the spinach, which was OK, just a little stringy. And thirdly, for a diner, this was BAD mac n' cheese. Kraft is better.

Food: 1
Service: 0
Decor: 0

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Lunch from Panch Villa Tacqueria, San Francisco, CA

Usually there isn't much to eat at a Mexican place that is low carb, but we decided to give Pancho Villa a try since everyone else at the office seems to enjoy it as a catered in option. It was better than expected. Also, we ordered way too much food because usually they give you a small portion of meat and then tons of carby sides, which we don't eat. This time they subbed all the carbs with extra veggies and it turned out being a ridiculous amount of food for 2 people.

Well seasoned and not overcooked.

Chicken Salad
It was nice that the chicken pieces had been browned instead of just a single chicken breast sliced. This was tasty, although the vegetables were too big to be bite size, which is always bad news in a salad that you are trying to eat with plastic silverware.

Chile Relleno
Very cheesy, but soggy and a bit cold by the time it was delivered to the office. Probably would have been much better if eaten there.

Shrimp and Carnitas
The shrimp was the same as above. The carnitas was a bit dissapointing in that it was not very moist. The flavor was there though.
Food: 1
Service: NA
Decor: NA

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Breakfast at Home

Cheesy Scrambled Eggs
Can't really get any simpler. Best to add the cheese when the eggs are congealed, but still not cooked through.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Dinner at Home

Tofu and Broccoli with Black Bean Sauce
This was a Sunday night dinner brought into being because the tofu was about to expire. It is very rare that we eat an entirely vegetarian meal, but this was satisfying in its own way.

-1 lb brocolli, chopped in bite size pieces
-2 blocks firm tofu, pressed and cubed
-1/2 onion, thinly sliced
-10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
-3 tb chili black bean sauce
-1 tb rice vinager
-1 tb rice wine
-1 cup water
-2 tb soy sauce

Sautee onions and garlic in a bit of olive oil until beginning to brown. Add the liquids, the chili black bean sauce and the water. Combine. Add the tofu and cook until the water is almost evaporated. Add the brocolli and cover. Steam for a few minutes, stir and serve.

Breakfast at Jillian's, San Francisco, CA

Football seasons begins...Usually we go to our friend's house, but he moved too far away, so this year we are stuck with a bar instead of a living room. Sad.

Breakfast Burrito $10
Very cheesy and very filling. Better than expected, although expensive.

Calamari with Lemon Aioli and Sweet and Sour Sauce $10
The sweet and sour sauce has a revolting snotty texture that Alexis couldn't quite stomach. The aioli was more of a flavored mayo than a true aioli. The calamari itself was unexpectedly tender. The batter did not bind well to the calamari, but that was ok because we didn't order it for the batter anyway.

Food: 1
Service: 1
Decor: 0

Health Code Violations

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